Sunday, December 13, 2009

Traveling Blues, Part 1.

I'm trying as hard as I can to get to the big Fall American Geophysical Union meeting, but it hasn't gone my way so far.

Let's start with the rental car to get from Los Alamos to Albuquerque. My flight out of ABQ was supposed to be at 8:30, which means a 5:00 AM departure from Los Alamos. A rental car is key because there's no way I'm waking up my family to drive me two hours just so they can turn around and drive back. Anyway... while trying to get some other stuff done, I forgot to pick up the car at noon. I got to Hertz at 1:10PM. They close at 1:00. Swearing ensued.

I got on the line with their customer service to see if I could grab a car in Santa Fe. This proved to be a challenge, because they have several narrowly defined customer service numbers, none of which have to do with missing pick-up times. My friend, who was especially helpful while I was trying to sort this out, eventually got a phone number using the live web help (which was different than all others listed.)

I get on the horn with Hertz. I get a computer that uses voice recognition. It doesn't recognize my voice at all. If your voice recognition software doesn't understand "yes" from a mid-western white male, you've got problems. After a few minutes of this, I give an exasperated, "just give me a f***ing person!" The computer pauses, then says, "I'm sorry for the confusion. I'll put you through to an operator."

Real person fixes problem, rental car obtained. Smooth sailing, right?

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